How Field has influenced Subject.

The Pembrokeshire trip in the first term was the inspiration for my interest in maps and navigation. Working from memory I made a series of large scale drypoint prints from memory that functioned as maps of the area. The high vantage points I experienced within the landscapes led me to focus on lines of vision and alternate ways of viewing a landscape. I was also looking at Peter Lanyon’s glider paintings which are landscapes but from an aerial perspective; again an alternative way of viewing a traditional landscape scene.

Whilst creating the drypoint plates I became aware that whilst they were intended as landscapes they functioned as a map that was personal to my experiences. As I had been working from memory each time I created a plate the outcome was slightly different depending on which parts of the trip I recalled. At the same time as i was working on the prints I made paintings and line drawings depicting journeys i made regularly around Cardiff.

The work i created during field has influenced my studio practice because it has continued my interest in maps and psychogeography, more recently I have  changed subject matter to ones i was more familiar with such as from home and around Cardiff because the landscape in Pembrokeshire was starting to feel irrelevant to my present life. The change in subject matter to urban landscapes has led my paintings to have a more limited colour palate, something I initially struggled with as I enjoy working in colour. However I’ve found a restricted colour palate has benefitted my work because it has forced me to simplify my mark making and compositions. After simplifying down my work, in the last few weeks I have begun to re-introduce colour but in a different way.  Making these changes to my practice and the work i made during field has helped me to realise my goal of creating a series of contemporary landscape paintings.

I have experimenting with working on ripped cardboard because I find my mark making becomes less expressive and restricted by the conventions of a canvas, however I have been limited to working on small canvases because i have had to transport my work on the train. Now that I have access to studio space again I would like to work on a larger scales an experiment, but for now I am happy with 9 x 12″ canvas as working on a smaller scale makes the painting more intimate. I also set myself a challenge to create an art work without using any conventional paint because initially I was working in oil paints which I found limiting.  I enjoy using mixed media and find it difficult to concentrate upon one medium, instead I used a combination of emulsion and coffee, collage materials and oil bars. I have continued to use the 100 drawings method from Pwll Deri as I found it an effective way to gather lots of information and they also function as a body of work in their own right.

 

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Victor Pasmore

 

Victor Pasmore, ‘Spiral Motif in Green, Violet, Blue and Gold: The Coast of the Inland Sea’ 1950
Victor Pasmore, The Coast of the Inland Sea (1950)

In reference to this painting, Pasmore has said that “the landscape themes developed by means of a free construction of pure form elements, either the spiral line as in this case or the square as in the “Eclipse”’ (Tate Gallery) Pasmore used abstract forms in his paintings not because the artist was seeking to create abstract art but because he believed that the forms he used, such as spirals, have become shorthand for constructions perceived in nature. Pasmore made a series of paintings using this re-curing motif until the 1950s when he ultimately decided that it did not adequately express the concept of space. In a similar way I have been experimenting with using found forms as representative of shapes that appear in nature. Rather than create something theoretical, with abstraction and focus on form being the primary outcome, I have used the abstract shapes to express an observed landscape .

 

Collabor-8 Sam Thorne

05/05/2017

Nottingham Contemporary and Former Tate St. Ives Curator Sam Thorne gave a talk on the role of the curator and the problems they have to consider when devising an exhibition. In the first half he gave an overview of the history of art exhibitions, covering the Salon Louvre, When Attitudes Became Form 1969, Magicians of the Earth 1989 and the Utopia Station at the Venice Biennale 2003. Harald Szeemann is seen as the first curator and oversaw the When Attitudes Became Form exhibition in Bern. By the time of Magicians of the Earth, art exhibitions had become global, encompassing art from different countries, moving away from the heavy focus on Europe. As galleries become global around the late 20th century, the scale of art works get bigger and gallery spaces change to accommodate this, becoming more flexible and more open plan. By the 21st century the curator becomes somebody who deals with events more than paintings.

In the second half of the talk we were given a tour of the four gallery spaces in the Contemporary and how each spaces is suited to different types of art work. Sam Thorne also spoke on the limitations that curators have to work with, such as Lux or Light levels, humidity, and restrictions imposed by the gallery. He also explained that the design of older galleries, including Tate St. Ives present problems because they are often not equipped to display large scale installations or works that require a regulated atmosphere.

West Wharf Gallery Exhibition

02/05/17

02/05/17 was the opening night of the West Wharf Gallery exhibition after spending Monday morning installing our work. The triptych of paintings were hung at eye level using command strips with roughly 3/4 of a metre of wall space either side, it was important that the paintings had wall space because they are all 24cm x 30cm and wouldn’t have had space to breath if they were directly next to two larger paintings. I altered the order and spacing between the triptych several times but settled on having the most abstract work in the middle and using the bridge and engine testing paintings as a ‘frame’ on either side. Ideally I would have hung the paintings using a nail but settled with Command strips because the exhibition was open for one day only and because layering two Command strips over each other allowed me to negate the problem of one of the canvases being marginally thinner than the other two. I think the paintings either side of mine helped my work to be more successful as Jon Wall had also used Oil Bars in the same tonal range as in my paintings, which created a link between the work.

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Triptych

I began working on all three canvas at the same time because I wanted to treat them as a triptych. The paintings are under painted with a mixture of white emulsion and coffee. I then used oil bars and soft pastels over collage materials. The more abstract painting took the longest and was the most difficult to complete, the layers of emulsion became built up, causing it to crack and pull away from the canvas. The end result of this working method is a painting that is fragile because of the materials and processes I have used, this is something that I need to refine as it is difficult not to damage the canvases. All the collage materials I have used have been found forms, something that I could put more emphasis on; as I have started to do in the more abstract painting of houses.

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Dissertation Proposal PDP

Before starting my proposal I jotted down any relevant information as I was reading, I transferred this information to a mind map which allowed me to separate my notes into points, quotation and analysis, which then became my literature review. I have chosen to focus on J. Baudrillard Simulations, W. Benjamin The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, R. Krauss The Originality of the Avante Garde, and W.J.T Mitchell What do Pictures Want? in the literature review as these books examine theories which I feel are relevant to the topic of Authenticity;  I also referenced Exhibiting Authenticity by David Phillips which is more factual than theoretical. In this part of the proposal I have summarised the theories relevant to my dissertation question and explained how the contextual research will inform my own ideas.

I had difficulty in separating the literature review from the research plan. When answering the question ‘how will this contextual research inform your own ideas?’ I found it difficult not to go in to too much depth and add in references to case studies.  The literature review is a summary of an author’s viewpoints.

My research plan outlines what artists and case studies I am going to refer to in each chapter, why I have chosen them and how I can apply the concepts I have researched in my literature review. I had difficulties with not going into too much depth in the research plan and  separating the literature review from the research plan. I am also still not uncertain of the chronology of the points made in this section of the proposal and I may re-arrange them in the future. When answering the question ‘how will this contextual research inform your own ideas?’ I found it difficult not to go in to too add in references to case studies.

The overview is a description of the topics I am planning to discuss throughout my dissertation; I have listed these in chronological order and explained why I will discuss these ideas.

The most significant concept that has emerged from my research is that of simulations and Simulacra, written about extensively by Jean Baudrillard. This immediately led me to research modern technologies and the way that they have influenced authenticity. Baudrillard and Walter Benjamin have helped me to contextualise my artistic practice where I am experimenting with how to paint a contemporary landscape when human perception has been altered by new technologies.

The main aim of the Post Anthropocentric practices lectures was to investigate how we are entangled amongst non-human material and ecological worlds and temporalities. This theory led me to consider how the viewer’s world gets entangled with the ‘world’ and ideologies created by an artist in a painting.

The first topic of the lectures was the idea that if the containment of a material breaks, the wildness comes alive, for example in its wild state paint is a watery liquid but once placed in a container it becomes ‘domesticated’; if the pot is spilt then the paints wildness is revealed. Tim Ingold argues that material things are not solid, they are processes that are defined by the fact that they can’t always be controlled. There real agency lies precisely in the fact that ‘they cannot always be captured and contained.’ (Tim Ingold, 2010. p.8) This has influenced the way I apply materials to the canvas, trying to manipulate the paint as little as possible and use found forms rather than cutting out collage pieces. Ingold also comments that “the real house is never finished…rainwater drips through the roof…feeding a fungal growth that threatens to decompose the timbers.” This raises the question of whether art works should be preserved or if they should be left open to change from the elements, preserving them may or may not be what the artist wanted. Keeping artworks in a preserved state seems to be part of human nature’s need to maintain; like the co-dependency between a dry stone wall and the need for its maker to maintain the wall’s state.

We also looked at how An artefact can never exist independently, it is grown within a meshwork of relations,  Jeremy Deller’s The history of the world, 1997-2004 shows these relations between disparate elements. This relates to the Magical Objects Field project on African Masks. We watched ‘The Tribal Eye’ which spoke about how Dogon Masks were increasingly displayed in western art galleries during the early 1900s and the influence of African sculpture on Picasso. The concern raised in the documentary was that without context the Dogon Masks ‘meshwork of relations’ ceased to be visible to the viewer who might not be able to see that African masks were intended as functional objects.

In constellation we also researched how the word ‘object’ comes with baggage because it removes the items association with other things in the world. The world is not cut up into sections, therefore the idea of ‘objects’ and ‘things’ as being separate is a fallacy. Language and semantics cuts the world up and alters out visual perception. This is known as a Fait Accompli; something which is presented as finished and taken out of its processes of life. This is essentially a summary of the ideas i wrote about in first term’s’ essay which discussed whether a painting is ever also a physical object or do we only perceive the layer of paint.

The second Post Anthropocentric practices lecture focused on an analogy developed by the painter Paul Klee, who said that people are like seeds connected to their surroundings. The way the body has developed is dependant on its environment. The ecologist David Abram argues that humans are no longer aware of their ecological surroundings and have lost connection with nature, this has led to conflict with other species and climate change. The idea that humans have become alienated from their surroundings is similar to Baudrillard’s theory on Simulacra which are copies that become originals in their own right, meaning that human perception bears no relation to the ‘real’ environment anymore.